Does the Liberal-NDP deal pose a risk to the Liberals if it means them abandoning the centre?
A very interesting analysis. It raises the question of what issues define left, centre and right today. I don't think they're entirely the same as they were 50 years ago. For instance, the climate was an issue for far-left tree-huggers 50 years ago; today it's an increasingly central issue for government, business and most voters -- with its huge implications for the economy; e.g., power and transportation. I'd like to see an up-to-date version of the concerns underlying how voters define their place on the political spectrum.
I find this a curious semantic exercise. Did the poll have any criteria, ex., specific issue positions, associated with the identification of left, right and centre political beliefs or was it simply a question of self-identification with the words?
In other words, do folks who self-identify as on the 'right' but vote for Libs, Dips, or Cons, all believe in the same things? Say, fiscal prudence? Otherwise, these seem like fairly wishy-washy semantic categories, unless I missed something. People don't use words like left, right, centre with a great deal of consistency, it strikes me. Someone on the left of the conservative party, a Red Tory for example, is not the same as someone on the left of the Dipper social democratic spectrum.
Even so, the Liberal's right flank is more important. If the Liberals lose leftist urban votes in ridings where the NDP finished second, it's not really a loss since a newly elected NDP member would support a minority gov't. On the other hand if the Liberals lose rightist suburban votes in ridings where the Tories finished second, it could push the Conservatives into majority territory.
I think this analysis would be a lot more interesting had centre-left and centre-right identification been included. I also wonder whether we're conflating the "median" voter with the actual ideological "centre". In the 90s-2000s we had a Liberal Party that embraced the ideological centre under Chretien and Martin and a Conservative movement that was moving from centre-right to Right. I would suggest that the median voter since that period has been decidedly "ideologically centrist". In the Trudeau 2.0 Era we have a liberal party that has re-embraced the ideological centre-left, largely abandoning the legacy of Chretien-Martin. The question is whether the median voter is moving with the Liberals to the centre-left, in which case they would have a natural electoral advantage. I believe the next election, whenever it comes, will go a long way to answering that question. If a plurality of Canadians embrace the results of this Liberal-NDP Deal then I think we can likely say the median voter has shifted to the left.